Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Thought

“There will be no one in need among you because The Lord is sure to bless you in the land that The Lord your God is giving you as a possession to occupy, if only you will obey The Lord your God by diligently observing this entire commandment that I command you today.”  Deuteronomy 15:4-5

Then we read only a few verses later; “If there is among you anyone in need …” (Deut 15:7) and then later still, “Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth …” (Deut 15:11).

Jesus affirms this in Matthew’s Gospel; “You have the poor with you always …” (26:11)

As stated earlier in the week, we must always look more carefully into the full context as well as understand that, like wealth, “poor” is relative.  We believe we have a pretty good bead on what it means to be poor very likely because we live in a culture that measures happiness and success in dollars and cents.  We do not always take into consideration those who are “poor in spirit”.  What we can be certain of is that The Lord has assured us blessings we cannot begin to fathom if we will be faithful to Him always – not only when it suits us or when we need a tax write-off.

So how do we consider that The Lord says “there will be no one in need” on the one hand, but on the other hand says, “IF there is among you anyone in need …” and then finally, “You have the poor with you always …” 

A Jewish theologian observes that “only when we perform the desires of G-d” will there be no one in need.  So what does it mean to us if we are truly after the heart of the Holy Father?  That we are always aware of His “desires” and seek to fulfill those desires just as He has fulfilled our profound need to be freed so we can live to our fullest and sacred potential.  It means seeing through His eyes those who are poor (financially and spiritually), marginalized by society, victims of injustice, or just plain lonely or afraid. 

The reality is there will always be those among us who are poor, but the sacred ideal is that there should “be no one in need among you because” we realize how richly blessed we truly are.  And this, I think, is the key to understanding why The Lord is so generous to those who obey Him and seek after His holy “desires”; it is so we can help to take care of those who cannot care for themselves.  This is what it means to live in community, and it is the essence of what it means to be The Church – the Body of the Risen Christ, the Living Word.

One Christian writer observed recently that we’ve gotten pretty good at looking at the window (that is, getting entirely wrapped up in the necessary personal component of our relationship with The Lord) but have not yet learned how to look through the window and see the wider world through the eyes of our Lord.  But we take heart because this is what it means to seek after spiritual “perfection” in sanctification – as we grow in faith and in love and learn to see the world as our Lord sees it AND as our Lord “desires” us to see it for His sake.  For He has not given up on us; so shall we never give up on Him and His beloved creation.



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